Please tell us about yourself. How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?

Growing up in India, Shefali Chavan always had dreams of becoming an Interior Designer. Before moving to New York City in 2016, she earned her BA in Architecture in India. Shefali started her new life as a designer at an architecture firm, but after just one year decided to continue her studies in lighting design and enrolled in NYSID. Shefali graduated from NYSID’s MPS-L program in May 2017 and currently works at George Sexton Associates.  

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Where are you now and what kind of work/projects are you currently working on?

I work at George Sexton Associates in New York City. George Sexton Associates is a lighting and museum design firm. For the past five months, I have been working on education campus, residential, retail and museum lighting projects, overcoming all sorts of challenges.

How did NYSID prepare you for where you are today? 

NYSID has played a major role in my career by teaching me to understand what exactly I am capable of. I had access to amazing instructors who had years of practical experience in their given fields. They were well-versed, approachable, and patient which made it easier for me to learn what I was most passionate about and take with me as I stepped into the next phase of my life.

What career advice do you have for current students?  What is critical for the future professional?

The best advice I can give to current students is to build contacts in the industry while you are currently studying. It is very necessary. I also suggest getting your first job in New York City, as it is the capital of lighting design.

Who influenced your studies at NYSID?

All of my classmates and professors have always encouraged me in a positive way. Being surrounded by so much diversity and students from different parts of the world was influential in itself.  You learn so much from each individual’s views and thought process.